Limited Wants Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment / Edition 1

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<p>For roughly 99% of their existence on earth, Homo sapiens lived in small bands of semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, finding everything they needed to survive and thrive in the biological richness that surrounded them. Most if not all of the problems that threaten our own technologically advanced society - from depletion of natural capital to the ever-present possibility of global annihilation-would be inconceivable to these traditional, immediate-return societies. In fact, hunter-gatherer societies appear to have solved problems of production, distribution, and social and environmental sustainability that our own culture seems incapable of addressing.<p>Limited Wants, Unlimited Means examines the hunter-gatherer society and lifestyle from a variety of perspectives. It provides a brief introduction to the rich anthropological and sociological literature on non-agricultural societies, bringing together in one volume seminal writings on the few remaining hunter-gatherer cultures including, the !Kung, the Hadza, and the Aborigines. It examines the economics of traditional societies, and concludes with a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what they can teach us in our own quest for environmental sustainability and social equality.<p>Limited Wants, Unlimited Means is an important work for students of cultural anthropology, economic anthropology, environmental studies, and sustainable development, as well as for professionals, researchers, and anyone interested in prehistoric societies, environmental sustainability, or social justice.
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Editorial Reviews

Anthropologists turn the favorite idiom of economists on its head and argue that the environmental destruction of modern society is not viable, inevitable or even particularly enviable. They produce evidence that hunter-gatherers needed little, wanted little, for the most part had all the means to satisfy their needs at their immediate disposal, and lived richer and more rewarding lives than we do. They put into a hunter-gatherer perspective contemporary problems such as social security, renewable resources, sexual equality, cultural diversity, and disparity of wealth. The 12 essays were originally published from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559635554
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 378
  • Sales rank: 1,024,400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Gowdy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

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Table of Contents

A Note from the Editor
Introduction: Back to the Future and Forward to the Past
PART I. Original Affluent Societies
Chapter 1. The Original Affluent Society
Chapter 2. What Hunters Do for a Living, or, How to Make Out on Scarce Resources
Chapter 3. Sharing, Talking, and Giving: Relief of Social Tensions Among the !Kung
Chapter 4. Egalitarian Societies
PART II. The Original Affluent Society: Assessment And Extensions
Chapter 5. Beyond "The Original Affluent Society"?: A Culturalist Reformulation
Chapter 6. Women's Status in Egalitarian Society: Implications for Social Evolution
Chapter 7. Art, Science, or Politics? The Crisis in Hunter–Gatherer Studies
Chapter 8. The Future of Hunter–Gatherer Research
PART III. Hunter–Gatherers and Visions of the Future
Chapter 9. The Transformation of the Kalahari !Kung
Chapter 10. So Varied in Detail—So Similar in Outline
Chapter 11. Future Primitive
Chapter 12. A Post-Historic Primitivism
About the Contributors

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